2017 Broncos Season, Offensive Questions
We're past the draft, and free agency is in the rear view. So now it's time to look at some lingering questions. Tomorrow I'll look at defense and Special Teams, where it seems like we have more answers than questions. But today, it's offense.
This won't include the offensive line. I believe I've covered the fact that the Broncos need to improve on the offensive line, and it's possible that Garrett Bolles is the answer there. But no need to re-hash this subject. Instead, it's time to look at the skill positions.
On the Roster: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly
About: The Broncos were content to roll with Siemian and Lynch as their passers throughout the 2016 season. Yet, as the off-season commenced, many seemed to believe the Broncos were desperate to upgrade at quarterback. John Elway never seemed to express that sentiment and, here we sit, with the Broncos locked into those two at QB. Siemian was the starter last year, played well, and was hardly the problem. Lynch was a first round pick last year and is viewed as the potential future. And Chad Kelly, this year's seventh round pick, is the Wild Card. Some think he's the future, while others think he's a practice squad arm. Either way, training camp will have a lot to say about how these Broncos quarterbacks are adapting to the new offense.
On the Roster: CJ Anderson, Jamaal Charles, Juwan Thompson, Devontae Booker, and De'Angelo Henderson
About: This is a crucial unit for the Broncos. Injuries and ineffective line play hurt the Broncos' ground game last year, and the Broncos must improve. A better line and new offensive scheme are part of that. But what about the players? The Broncos shipped out Kapri Bibbs during the draft, and picked up Henderson on day three of the draft and Charles last week. They join three existing backs, giving the Broncos an interesting mix. Charles and Anderson are coming off knee surgeries, and both are question marks. Booker hit the rookie wall hard last season, and looked lost at times down the stretch. Can he bounce back? And what of Thompson and Henderson? I think Anderson starts and is the workhorse, while Charles takes the third down back role and Booker remains a part of the Broncos' depth. I believe in Anderson and think he bounces back. But let's see how it shakes out in camp.
On the Roster: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Carlos Henderson, Isaiah McKenzie, Bennie Fowler, Jordan Taylor, Cody Latimer, and Kalif Raymond
About: Thomas and Sanders are set as option One and One-A in the passing game. That's never been in question. But who is No. 3? Taylor and Fowler had their moments last season, Latimer was drafted in the second round a few years back and could have his last chance this season. Meanwhile, McKenzie was likely drafted as a returner, and Raymond is primarily a returner, too. The real challenger here is Henderson, a strong, fast and potentially explosive rookie from Louisiana Tech. He could challenge for the slot and be a real playmaker for the Broncos. Whether it's Henderson, Fowler, Taylor or even Latimer, someone has to step up as a playmaker for the Broncos.
On the Roster: Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman, Jake Butt, and A.J. Derby
About: Another interesting position, one where the Broncos need to improve. Green is a great blocker, but never has developed into a good receiver. Derby had flashes, but also choked in key situations. And Heuerman has struggled with health and ineffectiveness. That's why the Broncos drafted Butt, a tight end with second round talent that fell to the fifth round because of a a knee injury. If Butt can return healthy in time for the season, that could be a game-changer for the Broncos. If not, this could again be a patchwork position that's a question for the Broncos.